In late December, I announced a really juicy offer of free remote agile coaching for 30 days for organisations willing to help me learn how remote coaching might work and how effective it could be.
It is now late January and I finally got my 5 lucky volunteers from a total set of 11 respondents. I fully intend to share the names of the lucky 5 once they agree that I can do so and also as part of a series of case studies.
Here are some early lessons that I would like to share about offering something that otherwise would be hugely expensive for no financial cost:
Cost is a barrier
Almost all the respondents said that cost was a barrier to them getting help – let alone ongoing help. Trying to justify the cost made having the conversation with their management and other parts of the organisation harder!
Just because it is free doesn’t mean it is attractive
One respondent was pretty keen and was really geared up, but when they brought the offer to their management – they weren’t so supportive. ‘We are hiring an agile coach next month, why do we need a free one?’. The value of an objective expert who can help call out ineffective behaviour and help focus everyone’s attention on finding more effective behaviour is understated until people try it and see transformational results.
Free does not mean fast
I believe that agile businesses are inherently fast responders. Their ability to sense opportunity and to respond – even if that response is a placeholder for a future conversation – is essential. This – in my opinion – is one of the observable behaviours of an agile person/team/business.
My lesson is a little skewered by Christmas and New Year – but not so much that I could not discern that all but two of my respondents was really fast off the bat. From an early conversation to explore the nitty gritty of the offer to connecting with their CxOs to schedule a go-ahead conversation took all of a week. On the other hand – most others were taking a week or two to even just respond to my reply!
I’m sure they all have great reasons, but assuming that your free offer – however good it might be – will spark immediate response is perhaps ill-advised.
If I was to do this again, I would not pick the holiday season and I would set an offer period – for no other reason than communicate my sense of urgency.
The newbies are fresh enough to care
Almost all 11 respondents to my offer had been in their roles for less than 1 year. This invites me to explore why these particular people chose to act.
Perhaps they are still fearless and optimistic about their organisations’ journey of continuous improvement.
Perhaps they still enjoy the support of their management in their drive to help their organisations become better.
In my experience of over 100 teams and over a thousand people, the new people in the organisation hold huge unsullied hope and their employers and colleagues best learn how to make the best of that temporary state of non-corruption.
Ask a question, share a thought
If you have any questions about my offer and how it is working out – please drop me a comment below, contact me on Twitter or email me. I’d love to learn and share.
At this point I really want to say a massive thank you to all those who shared my tweets and the link to the original post to their networks. I can’t thank you all enough. If you are ever in Spain… beers!!